03 March 2023, by Victoria Séveno

Several unions have confirmed Thursday, March 16, as the date for a national strike among hundreds of thousands of workers across 64 hospitals in the Netherlands.

Healthcare workers calling for higher salaries and reduced workloads

With the collective labour agreement for employees in the Dutch healthcare sector having come to an end on January 31, February saw trade unions announce that workers at over 60 hospitals in the Netherlands would be striking in March in an attempt to bargain for higher salaries and better working conditions. 

Unions are demanding a wage increase of 10 percent, as well as an additional 100 euros per month and higher travel allowances. They’re also calling on hospitals to do more to reduce the workload placed on employees following the coronavirus pandemic and amid severe staff shortages in the sector. 

On Thursday afternoon, four Dutch trade unions, including the Netherlands’ Trade Union Confederation (FNV) and Christian National Trade Union (CNV), officially confirmed the date for the national strike.

Up to 200.000 workers at 64 Dutch hospitals expected to strike

At 8am on Thursday, March 16, up to 200.000 workers employed at 64 hospitals across the country will stop work for 24 hours. This means that, for the duration of the strike period, dozens of hospitals will be operating so-called Sunday shifts, meaning that only emergency care will be available.

Hospitals across all the major Dutch cities will be taking part, including Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Eindhoven, but the number of departments involved varies per hospital. At the Antoni van Leeuwhoek hospital in Amsterdam for example, employees from 48 departments will strike, meanwhile, 33 departments will take part at the Wilhemina Hospital in Assen – FNV warns that practically the whole hospital will be closed. 

“We notice that the anger among employees is enormous. Confidence in the employer in particular takes a big hit. The employees feel left out in the cold,” explains FNV’s Elise Merlijn. “All that is asked is to maintain purchasing power and reduce the workload. So that the groceries can be paid for and the wonderful work that is being done is sustained.”

Thumb: Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.

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